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SHAH ABBAS THE GREAT           259
the throne, his astrologers having predicted that serious
danger threatened its occupant. A certain Yusuf, probably
a Christian and certainly not a Moslem, was crowned, and
for three days was surrounded with royal state. On the
fourth day he was put to death ^; and, the decree of the
stars being thus fulfilled. Abbas reascended the throne on a
propitious day with promises from the astrologers of a
long and glorious reign. The victory over the Uzbegs
mentioned above was gained shortly after this extra-
ordinary incident.
The Arrival in Persia of the Sherley Brothers y A.D. 1598.
—The gallant attempt of Jenkinson in the reign of
Tahmasp to open up trade with Persia across Russia was
an isolated episode which left no mark on the country, and
deserves mention mainly on account of the courage and
perseverance displayed. Under Shah Abbas, Englishmen
first appear on the scene as gentlemen-adventurers,1 and
their influence on Persian policy was considerable. Sir
Anthony Sherley, already distinguished as the leader of an
expedition to the Spanish Main, and" his brother Sir Robert
Sherley, accompanied by twenty-six followers, reached
Kazvin in 1598, and upon the return of Shah Abbas from
his victory over the Uzbegs the two brothers presented
themselves as English knights who had heard of the fame
of the Persian monarch and desired to enter his service.
Knowledge of the customs of Persia was shown by their
making a splendid gift " of six pair of pendants of exceed-
ing fair emeralds : two other jewels of topazes ; a cup of
three pieces set in gold, and enamelled ; a salt, a fair ewer
of crystal^ covered with a kind of cut work of silver, and
gilt, the shape of a dragon."
The young Shah, who was evidently flattered and
pleased with the leader of the party, gave him in return
royal gifts, including " forty horses all furnished, two with
exceeding rich saddles, plated with gold, and set with
rubies and turquoises," To these he added mules, camels,
tents, and a sum of money.
The Reorganization of the Persian drmy.—The force at
1 This section is based on Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625 ed.), vol. ii. 5 also on The
Three Brothers, or The Travels and Adventures of Sir Anthony, -Srr Robert, and Sir Thomas
Sherley, 1828.